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Pope Holds Centennial Mass, Condemns Genocide Denial (Video)

Posted on April 13, 2015 at 12:55 AM


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Pope Francis held Solemn Mass for the Centenary of the Armenian Genocide today, during which he remembered “the first genocide of the 20th century,” spoke about the consequences of forgetting and denial, and proclaimed the Armenian Saint Gregory of Narek a Doctor of the Church. Catholicoi Karekin II and Aram I, along with Patriarch Catholicos Nerses Bedros XIX, arrived at the Basilica of Saint Peter with Pope Francis. Armenian President Serge Sarkisian was also present at the Holy Mass.

Pope Francis held Solemn Mass for the Centenary of the Armenian Genocide.

Pope Francis holds a Solemn Mass for the Centenary of the Armenian Genocide.

In his powerful remarks, Pope Francis spoke about three major tragedies of the past century: “The first, which is widely considered ‘the first genocide of the 20th century,’ struck your own Armenian people, the first Christian nation, as well as Catholic and Orthodox Syrians, Assyrians, Chaldeans, and Greeks,”said Pope Francis. “Bishops and priests, religious, women and men, the elderly, and even defenseless children and the infirm were murdered. The remaining two were perpetrated by

In strong terms, Pope Francis condemned the failure to remember and the act of denial, which he said only kept wounds festering and bleeding. “Dear Armenian Christians, today, with hearts filled with pain but at the same time with great hope in the risen Lord, we recall the centenary of that tragic event, that immense and senseless slaughter whose cruelty your forebears had to endure,” he said, stressing, “It is necessary, and indeed a duty, to honor their memory, for whenever memory fades, it means that evil allows wounds to fester. Concealing or denying evil is like allowing a wound to keep bleeding without bandaging it!”

Dear Armenian Christians, today, with hearts filled with pain but at the same time with great hope in the risen Lord, we recall the centenary of that tragic event, that immense and senseless slaughter whose cruelty your forebears had to endure. It is necessary, and indeed a duty, to honor their memory, for whenever memory fades, it means that evil allows wounds to fester. Concealing or denying evil is like allowing a wound to keep bleeding without bandaging it!

Pope Francis lamented that the “enthusiasm” for preventing genocides created after World War II was “dissipating,” as evidenced by inaction in the face of today’s atrocities.

“It seems that the human family has refused to learn from its mistakes caused by the law of terror, so that today too there are those who attempt to eliminate others with the help of a few and with the complicit silence of others who simply stand by. We have not yet learned that ‘war is madness,’ ‘senseless slaughter,’” said Pope Francis.

“In the firm certainty that evil never comes from God, who is infinitely good, and standing firm in faith, let us profess that cruelty may never be considered God’s work and, what is more, can find absolutely no justification in his Holy Name,” Pope Francis added.

At the end of the Mass, His Holiness Karekin II, His Holiness Aram I, and His Beatitude Nerses Bedros XIX offered their remarks. Throughout the Mass, Armenian Church hymns were sung.

The English translation of the Pope’s remarks, as published by Vatican Radio, is below.

***

Greeting of the Holy Father

Mass for the Faithful of the Armenian Rite

April 12, 2015

On a number of occasions I have spoken of our time as a time of war, a third world war which is being fought piecemeal, one in which we daily witness savage crimes, brutal massacres and senseless destruction. Sadly, today too we hear the muffled and forgotten cry of so many of our defenseless brothers and sisters who, on account of their faith in Christ or their ethnic origin, are publicly and ruthlessly put to death—decapitated, crucified, burned alive—or forced to leave their homeland.

Today too we are experiencing a sort of genocide created by general and collective indifference, by the complicit silence of Cain, who cries out: “What does it matter to me? Am I my brother’s keeper?” (cf. Gen 4:9; Homily in Redipuglia, Sept. 13, 2014).

In the past century our human family has lived through three massive and unprecedented tragedies. The first, which is widely considered “the first genocide of the 20th century” (JOHN PAUL II and KAREKIN II, Common Declaration, Etchmiadzin, Sept. 27, 2001), struck your own Armenian people, the first Christian nation, as well as Catholic and Orthodox Syrians, Assyrians, Chaldeans, and Greeks. Bishops and priests, religious, women and men, the elderly, and even defenseless children and the infirm were murdered. The remaining two were perpetrated by Nazism and Stalinism. And more recently there have been other mass killings, like those in Cambodia, Rwanda, Burundi, and Bosnia. It seems that humanity is incapable of putting a halt to the shedding of innocent blood. It seems that the enthusiasm generated at the end of the Second World War has dissipated and is now disappearing. It seems that the human family has refused to learn from its mistakes caused by the law of terror, so that today too there are those who attempt to eliminate others with the help of a few and with the complicit silence of others who simply stand by. We have not yet learned that “war is madness,” “senseless slaughter” (cf. Homily in Redipuglia, Sept. 13, 2014).

Dear Armenian Christians, today, with hearts filled with pain but at the same time with great hope in the risen Lord, we recall the centenary of that tragic event, that immense and senseless slaughter whose cruelty your forebears had to endure. It is necessary, and indeed a duty, to honor their memory, for whenever memory fades, it means that evil allows wounds to fester. Concealing or denying evil is like allowing a wound to keep bleeding without bandaging it!

I greet you with affection and I thank you for your witness.

With gratitude for his presence, I greet Mr. Serge Sarkisian, the President of the Republic of Armenia.

My cordial greeting goes also to my brother Patriarchs and Bishops: His Holiness Kerekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians; His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia; His Beatitude Nerses Bedros XIX, Patriarch of Cilicia of Armenian Catholics; and Catholicosates of the Armenian Apostolic Church and the Patriarchate of the Armenian Catholic Church.

In the firm certainty that evil never comes from God, who is infinitely good, and standing firm in faith, let us profess that cruelty may never be considered God’s work and, what is more, can find absolutely no justification in his Holy Name. Let us continue this celebration by fixing our gaze on Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, victor over death and evil!

 

 

 

Categories: St. Narek church of Edmonton, Armenian Holy Apostolic Church, Canadian Diocese, Armeninan Genocide

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